I've said it before and I'll say it again. In my mind, the word villian ends and begins with Artemis Entreri. Who could not like the evils of a man with no soul that can kill on a whim? Come on, you know you love him. Just as a bonus, we get Jarlaxle, the king of all mercenarys, as a second main character in the book.
Now, before I go rambling on about how great the story and all that jazz in this book is, I need to express that I am a supporter of all that is good in this world and the imaginary ones we create. True to that, I had a little trouble reading a book purely about liars, assassins, thieves, and heartless mercenarys. At least in the beginnning. The wicked complexity of the book caught me very quickly and soon I was a die hard fan of both main characters.
Back to my main point, the book is about Jarlaxle coming into possession of the crystal shard. On a sub-level, it's about Entreri coming to terms with the fact that he is human, and he is getting older. Worried that the world will pass him by and he will end up in the gutter of Calimshan because he could not protect himself, Entreri makes moves to regain his position in the ring of street lords. Whilest his plans advance smoothly, Jarlaxle hits a few snags and runs into some problems with the Shard(much as Alkar Kessell did). It falls ultimately to Entreri to play as a balancer and not the self absorbed bad guy in the latter parts of the tale.
Combat in the book is thrilling, as usual, jeweled daggers and throwing knives abound and the assassin acquires a few new toys that are very amusing. Hopefully,(at least in my opinion) this is the beginning of more books about the assassin or maybe the eccentric Jarlaxle. Who knows but Mr. Salvatore himself? I've got my fingers crossed. Regardless, this is a great book and plays in well with some of the other books that are near it in the series. A little treasure to keep close to the darker corners of your mind from the world of Faerun.